Once again, developers are proposing to solve our transportation problems by building more houses. Once again the target area is the Rural Crescent, where the Avendale development would increase residential densities from 12 to 295 homes if approved by Supervisors.

Let’s do a recap of the recent financial bloodletting in the real estate market for Prince William County. With thousands of homes still in foreclosure and more than 30 THOUSAND approved new homes still unbuilt, it’s fair to say that a lack of housing is NOT an issue for Prince William County.

Adding insult to injury, these unneeded new homes are proposed for the County’s “protected” rural area. Why is the Rural Crescent the most valuable land use tool this County can claim? Because it establishes a rural area with lower population densities, reducing the need to invest precious limited tax dollars for infrastructure.

Every citizen benefits, from west to east, by NOT having to invest tax dollars to build new roads, new schools, new hospitals, etc. in areas far from the County’s population centers. Instead, the County should invest our resources in areas where we get the biggest bang for our buck – the development area.

However, Developers have asked the Board for special consideration to build MORE homes in areas that don’t make sense. Considering the County’s current housing glut as well as the economic climate (both the County and the state are broke), you have to ask yourself, WHY would Supervisors approve this proposal.

This logic would be the same as going on a diet by eating MORE fattening food. Ah, if only, that could be true (audible sigh) However, living in reality, I realize that eating MORE food will not help me lose weight… just as I understand that building more homes and dismantling an effective land use tool, the Rural Crescent, will NOT solve the County’s infrastructure deficit or financial woes. In fact, such development would have the opposite effect in the short AND long term.

Chairman Stewart and Supervisors May, Principi, and Stirrup understood these concepts when they all signed the Rural Crescent Pledge during the last election cycle. Now, two years later, citizens are depending on them to follow through and honor their campaign promises.

When Supervisors vote on the Avendale proposal on January 12th I am hopeful they will vote to support effective long-range planning and limit future, unnecessary costs to taxpayers by voting to deny Avendale.

Update: Here’s the much requested Fiscal Impact Analysis on the Proposed Avendale Development by Bob Pugh.

Pugh’s Bio –

Bob Pugh, CFA was a Senior Financial Analyst for the Prince William County Government from 1999 to 2003. During that time he worked extensively on fiscal and economic impact analysis, including serving as the County’s liaison with Dr. Steven Fuller of George Mason University on development of a fiscal impact model for the County. His work included analysis of regional economic issues pertaining to Prince William County, analysis of tax burdens, revenue forecasting, proffer calculations and proffer calculation methodology, and projected returns on economic development projects.

Bob has many years of experience as an academic in economics, finance and investments, most recently teaching as member of the Practitioner Faculty in Finance for the Johns Hopkins University’s Carey School of Business. He volunteers in many roles in the Prince William County community.

Currently, he owns and manages a financial planning and wealth management firm based in Gainesville, Virginia. He is a past-President of the 1,700-member CFA Society of Washington, DC and serves currently as the CFA Institute’s Eastern Region Presidents Council Representative, representing investment professionals in CFA Societies from Maine through Virginia. Bob is a long-time member of both the CFA Institute and the National Association for Business Economics.

136 Thoughts to “A Vote for Avendale Is A Vote for Higher Taxes for PWC Citizens”

  1. It used to be far worse than what MoM just described as far as supervisors turning a blind eye.

  2. anona

    I got curious about campaign donations after reading the postings and looked up the Brentsville supervisor and as my kids would say, OMG! Out of his top 25 monetary donations, with the exception of one restaurant person, one nursery owner and one technology company, every single one of them was a real estate developer. 22 out of 25 development related companies that donated thousands. I had no idea. I knew he was slightly supportive of development but I never realized it was this lopsided. So I guess he will vote for this project despite my heartfelt email to do the opposite?

    This VPAP website is amazing .

  3. Elena

    Yes Anona, Wally would NEVER vote no on a development, especially if it was in the RC!

  4. Opinion

    It appears that we have the best Government that money can buy.

  5. GainesvilleResident

    Saved :
    The reason I asked about Mr. Nohe’s vote is (if history is any indication) he will likely be a swing vote.
    You know there is too much growth when you are rolling down a road, glance at your 1-year old GPS, and it indicates that you are “off route” and driving through a field. Happens to me frequently in the western part of the county.
    Look at that debacle in the City of Manassas, across from KC’s restaurant. This was sold as a way to get professional singles and couples to live and spend money in Old Town, while commuting to those high-paying Crystal City jobs via the VRE. These unit were supposed to be made to “blend” with the architecture of Old Town. Now the fractionally finished, bankrupt development looks like a place where troops would train for urban combat, before going off to war. The things practically sit on the road.

    When I moved to my new neighborhood – the moving company tried to get there by GPS and got lost, my whole neighborhood looked like a big open space on theirs. I had updated mine and it showed my neighborhood – but not a piece of Wellington Road so it would always tell me I was off the road if I had it on while driving part of Wellington Road. That piece finally showed up in a more recent quarterly update.

    That project in Manassas is a disaster. What an eyesore. Whoever it was that allowed buildings that tall to sit so close to the edge of the road should be shot. Just awful. They claim they are going to make the fronts of the buildings more attractive. I don’t think that would help. They should bulldoze the whole thing and start over.

  6. GainesvilleResident

    People in Wally’s district who support the RC should have voted him out a long time ago then, from the sounds of it, unless it only became obvious in this term that he’s been so wanting to do things like run sewer and water into the RC.

    That said, it’s no surprise some supervisors top 25 campaign donators mostly are developers. What a shock……

  7. anona

    I guess I may have been duped. I thought Covington was for smart development because he is the one that put a hold on all home building a couple of years ago. I cannot remember exactly what the circumstances were but I thought his idea was that no new homes would be approved for a period of time. Now I am wondering if that was just tied to the election that year. I tried an internet search to see when the building was supposed to be halted and then start again but can’t find anything that even mentions it. Is it still in effect? Does anyone else remember that? If it was tied to the election, then I was duped into thinking he really was for slowing the growth down in our area.

  8. Mom

    Yeah, Wally’s wonderful resolution, funny how the expiration date of the resolution was the day after the election and how few applications came forward in the couple of months the resolution was in place. After the election however, it was right back to business as usual.

  9. Regarding the legal aspects of rezonings, the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) is more-or-less obliged to approve a rezoning request that is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. If they don’t approve such a rezoning, the applicant has a case that holds water in court.

    The Rural Crescent, however, including the Avendale property, is in the comp plan as AE (agricultural and estate). That means that by-right the owner of the property can use it for agricultural purposes or estates (one home per ten acres). The Avendale applicants want the property changed to SRL, (four homes per acre). The property can not be rezoned to allow for four homes per acre unless the comp plan is amended first.

    The BOCS has no legal requirement to approve a comp plan amendment. Applicants whose comp plan amendment requests are denied don’t have a leg to stand on in court. Thus, the BOCS considers both a request for a comp plan amendment and rezoning at the same time in cases such as Avendale. They have no legal obligation whatsoever to approve the comp plan amendment, but if they do the rezoning is virtually a foregone conclusion.

    Philosophically, Wally and others have used a property rights argument to support such requests. According to their argument, property owners have a right to do as they chose with their property, and the government has no right to take property or property rights without just compensation. I agree with this argument to a very large extent.

    However, no one is losing property rights in cases such as Avendale. Those property owners have a right to all uses included in AE status and no one is proposing taking that away from them. The applicants are proposing a change in the status and use of the property to SRL. That change would impose a cost on the rest of the community in terms of its fiscal impact on the levels of service available, and the expenses necessary to provide those services. Because of those impacts, the proposed changes affect my property rights, and those of all other County residents. We, therefore, have a right to a say in whether or not the BOCS enacts such changes.

  10. Opinion

    While reviewing today’s BOCS agenda, I came across an amendment to the Board of County Supervisors’ Rules and Procedures http://www.pwcgov.org/documents/bocs/agendas/2010/0112/3-D.pdf I honestly couldn’t tell what changed; however, I have never read this document before and found it quite interesting. It gives citizens the “rules” for presenting to the Board. I suggest everyone who wishes to speak to our BOCS read this document. I found the section on Repetitive Testimony particularly interesting. It states, “Testimony that is repetitive shall not be permitted on any matter. Persons of the same position as a previous speaker shall simply state their names and the positions with which they agree.” Frankly, this is a good rule. If a group of like minded citizens wants to reinforce a position, simply allowing the strongest speaker to lead and following with a simple, I agree with Mr (or Mrs. X) position would certainly speed things along (perhaps following up with… and I vote”) while reinforcing the point.

    I also notice that Citizens time may be limited to 30 minutes; however, I have never seen that enforced in practice.

  11. Lafayette

    Opinion, Citizens’ Time has been limited to thirty minutes a couple of times over the past two or three years. This thirty minute limit has been enforced when there’s a lenghty agenda due to presentations, etc.. I remember this being done last year when people were there to speak out about The Senior Day Care Progam in the western end of the county.

  12. GainesvilleResident

    I know some people like to get up at Citizens’ Time – and more power to those who do. I’ve found it to be effective writing to the supervisors. On a conflict I’m having with my builder, I’ve found Corey Stewart’s office to be very responsive (using Corey’s e-mail and having one of his staffers get involved). I would assume on issues like this e-mails are just as effective and that’s what I’ve done. While I don’t mind speaking in a work/professional setting, something about getting up at Citizens’ Time and looking at all the supervisors spooks me.

  13. Mom

    I’ve found taking a few pops of a fine single malt helps with speaking at Citizen’s Time because that tried and true method of imaging them in their underwear would likely require years of therapy.

  14. Lafayette

    Supervisor May is our new Vice-Chairman.

  15. GainesvilleResident

    Mom :
    I’ve found taking a few pops of a fine single malt helps with speaking at Citizen’s Time because that tried and true method of imaging them in their underwear would likely require years of therapy.

    Aha! So that’s the secret….

  16. *I* even praised Corey Stewart when GR told me of the rapid response he got.

    Supervisor May is my favorite Superman.

  17. The BOCS meeting now has its own thread at the top. Feel free to comment there.

  18. Mom

    MH, so you do imagine some of our supervisors in their underwear/superhero tights. If May is your Superman, what would Jenkins in a Speedo be?

  19. Lafayette

    Mom :MH, so you do imagine some of our supervisors in their underwear/superhero tights. If May is your Superman, what would Jenkins in a Speedo be?

    Your most recent posts might cause some to need that therapy you spoke of earlier. 🙂

  20. Mom

    Lafayette, OK, maybe Jenkins in a Speedo was a bit much, how about Marty in a g-string and pasties?

  21. Gainesville Resident

    Moon-howler :
    *I* even praised Corey Stewart when GR told me of the rapid response he got.
    Supervisor May is my favorite Superman.

    I will personally vouch for that! I am pleased at the very rapid response by his senior aide, and then the fact that she said it might take a bit of time but on the next business day, county public works was right out there on my property first thing in the morning looking at the issue with my lot.

  22. Gainesville Resident

    I meant to say I will personally vouch for MH praising Corey for how fast the response was on the issue I was having. I reread what I wrote below and the meaning wasn’t quite clear

  23. Lafayette

    Mom :Lafayette, OK, maybe Jenkins in a Speedo was a bit much, how about Marty in a g-string and pasties?

    Ok, you owe me a fine single malt on that one!!

  24. ewwwww…come on you guys!

  25. Mom

    One more mental image, Corey in a leather studded corset.

  26. Lafayette

    STOP!! You are killin’ me, man!!

  27. Mom

    Wally (appropriately) in a pair of Daisy Dukes and a tube top.

  28. Opinion

    I’m watching citizen comments for this project. I missed a bit; however, all of the citizens who live in the neighborhood appear to be for the project. Small business is coming on strong in favor. In fact, I haven’t heard one person speak against it (although I missed the beginning). The prevailing issue is small business and jobs. Go ahead and sign on if you want to listen. http://pwcgov.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&event_id=19

  29. Lafayette

    Mom, please stop!! I need a laugh after listening to these small business owners. GRRR!!

  30. Lafayette

    I missed the beginning too, Opinion.

  31. Mom

    Opinion, the first hour was nothing but opposition.

  32. Opinion

    Still… not one person speaking against this project (did anyone catch citizens time from the beginning? Did anyone speak against it?). Small business, jobs, road improvements, schools all given as reasons to support the development.

  33. Opinion

    Thanks, Mom.

  34. Kris Nohe

    Just gotta say, I speak from authority when I say that Supervisor Nohe can certainly rock out the swimming trunks. He’s my Super Man! 🙂

  35. Mom

    Just got a mental picture of Marty in a straw beach hat and a pair of Birdwell Beach Britches, Bleachh, brings back images of some of the people on the beaches in the Caribbean who really needed to look in the mirror before they went out.

  36. Lafayette

    Mom=one person Fashion Police force for PWC.
    I know I’ve sure been “arrested” by mom. 🙂

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